October 14, 2009 Meeting Minutes

22 Oct
October 22, 2009

As recorded by John Bunch, Secretary
Curtis Newsome opened the meeting and asked that John Bunch read the minutes from the previous monthly meeting. The minutes were read, motion made by Jeff Turner to adopt, seconded by Nancy Turner, and passed with no changes.

Curtis asked Nancy for the treasurer’s report for September. She reported that revenues were $3700.00, expenses were $1204.46.
Curtis then asked Nancy to give the Membership report in Bobby Turner’s absence. She reported that the group membership count continued to remain at 135.
The meeting had 11 in attendance and the BOD members present were Nancy Turner, Sherri Woodard, Jeff Turner, and Curtis Newsome.

The Riverkeeper Report
As presented by Jeff Turner

On 9/10 – Investigation has been launched on the digging that has been going on in the Nottoway and what follows is what is received from Ben Stagg, Env Eng of the Habitat Management Division Va Marine Resources. He reports on that investigation – “I have spoken to Mr. Kello and the VDGIF. I also visited the sites. We are working on a response. At the moment I am thinking we will try and coordinate with VDGIF through our current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). They are aware of the problem in general (they indicated they have issued citations for other things like no fishing license, drinking, drug possession), but they had not attempted to issue any citations for mining, digging, etc. Since this activity occurs on weekends, mostly, it’s difficult for us to enforce. As a permit issue, I would have to witness the activity occurring to either cite the person or inform them that a permit is required. Our law enforcement officers primarily patrol tidal waters and are stretched pretty thin on inland water activities. That said, I am hoping, at a minimum, to make VDGIF more aware of the situation, potentially issue citations under the subaqueous lands sections of the VA Code, and possibly get them to post signs at the public launch areas indicating that digging, excavation and disturbing State-owned river bottomlands is forbidden without a permit from VMRC.”
On 9/14 – Provided an Eco-Cruise for the Va for Humanities peple with 7 on board for downriver on the Blackwater.
– Provided a second Eco-Cruise to the Franklin Chamber Board of Directors with 6 on board, again for downriver on the Blackwater.
On 9/15 – Informed the Norfolk Southern Railroad about a crack in the trestle over the Blackwater, above the new bridge in Franklin. Repairs were soon made. Held conversations with NSRR officials, Franklin Mayor Council, and Franklin City Manager June Fleming about the flood issues and the trestle. Learned that it is due to be replaced in 2012 by a more modern version with concrete pillars. This should prove to be a less impedance to the flow of the river and should help in doing away with flow restrictions during high flow times.
On 9/19 – Manned the BNRP info booth during the Heritage Day event held in Courtland. Good interest was shown and I gave out a lot of information.
On 9/25 – Met with Roger Eitelman who would like to start a York River Riverkeeper Program. He’s retired and I had a couple hours conversation with him. He is interested in getting a small program going such as ours.
On 9/29 – Spent three days on the Blackwater below Franklin and noticed that the DO levels in the water had improved from last month.
On 9/30 – Treasurer Nancy Turner represented the BNRP at the Franklin Garden Club Rose Show. Donations were taken in memory of Moonpie for the event’s Green Offering. On 10/.9 I was presented with $1000 in donations by Co-Chair Mary Nelson Thompson at the Tidewater News office.
On 10/10 – Contacted the City of Franklin with concerns about citizen access to the Franklin WWTP outfall to the Blackwater. People are using water from it to fill their coolers to keep the fish alive that they are catching. I suggested fencing to Russ Pace, but told there was no money for that. Stricter enforcement and signage will most likely be implemented.
On 10/13 – Gave an Eco-Cruise on the Blackwater to 8 people from the Village at Woods Edge.
– Gave an additional Blackwater Eco-Cruise to 5 people from the Va for Humanities.
On 10/14 – Contacted Russ Pace from the Franklin Public Works about a worker shoveling dirt into a city storm drain located beside the construction site located on College Drive. He responded that he would forward the info to the E&S inspector.

This concluded the Riverkeeper Report

Other Items:

– Mill Creek – Interested in the history of this creek that lies below Dockside. There had previously had some industry on it, but no longer any now. Jeff has taken someone from the Va Humanities who is interested in doing research with a possible publication of the findings. The BNRP is looking into helping with providing some grant funds towards this project.

– Sherri Woodard is having a Friends of the Meherrin river cleanup on Oct. 24th from 8-12. Participants can collect trash by either walking or by bringing a boat. She will provide trash bags and litter-gitters.

– Sean Maconaghy reported for Ashland/Hercules that they struggled through the month of September to find the problem that was causing a high internal BOD. Frac tanks were brought in to handle water diversion until what turned out to be a salt split issue in their process could be corrected. There were no BOD violations to the river. Sean also mentioned that their permit mod would soon be going out for Public Comment.

– Phil Sherman, representative for Franklin, will check on the status of the river level gauging station that is to be installed on the new Rt. 58 bridge that crosses the Blackwater in Franklin. The money is there for it. Also, pursuing grants for improvements to Franklin, such as alternative Energy, making more space available at the Incubator, and helping in areas of blight.

– Jeff talked with Va Dominion Power on the building of the floating loading ramp that was to be built at the new Franklin boat landing. Money has been on the BNRP books for 2 years now and may need to be removed due to Dominion not moving on the project.

– Curtis mentioned that there was an article in the Smithfield News that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is fighting hard to try to keep the proposed Dendron coal-fired power plant from being built.

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